Losing the First Tooth

 

Portrait of a young boy

Samuel got his first loose tooth last night. It is wiggly and it hurts a bit and Samuel is thrilled and I am sad. OK, I know it is ridiculous. The timing is actually on the late end to lose his first tooth — he will be seven next month. He has a couple of friends who lost their first tooth at age four and many at age five and six so it is about time (in his mind anyway)!

Nevertheless, I feel like the last vestige of Samuel’s babyhood is going. It really seems like he has changed more in the last year (age 6 to 7) than any other single year since infancy. In fact, in many ways, he was remarkably stable in his personality, traits, play and interests between about age three and six. Now he has left those things behind. No more pretend games, no more Playmobil, no more fantasy, little tolerance for his younger sister, a rigidity about gender when before there was a fluidity….

Of course he has gained some things as well. He has new interests: legos, sports, hexbugs, his friends, the violin/piano, technology. He can read (and at least he reads to his sister!)! He is more mature both emotionally and cognitively. Where there was once a sweet soft babyness in his face and body, he is now all muscles, angles and lean. Generally, he has been a pretty easy reasonable child, but he has grown mostly easier and more reasonable or at least better at avoiding getting caught in mischief.

A few things remain the same. I still see Samuel (empathic, verbal, thoughtful, curious, funny) when I look at him. But he is growing away from me in leaps and bounds. I am a welcome respite at the end of the day, but during daylight hours, his friends are mostly more important to him than his mother and sister. What happened to the four year old Samuel who said very seriously to me, “Mommy, YOU are my best friend”??? The kid who constantly made cards with hearts above my name, and whose first written chicken scratch at age 3 was “I love you Mama”? The small child with the pink socks and the huge smile?

Not so long ago, I had a baby and a toddler. Then for a long time, it seemed like I had two preschoolers –one younger and one older. Now suddenly, I have a four year old and a boy who is nearly seven. They rush in and out of the house in a brilliant whirlwind of school, lessons and friends. “Hi Mama, bye Mama. Hi Mommy, Bye Mommy. Hi Mom, Bye.” And I am so busy and scattered and frantic that I barely noticed the time slipping away.

Ann